ladimir Kagan is the designer of many enduring pieces of Mid Century furniture and he is still going strong today. I came to know him through his iconic Serpentine sofa and I fell in love instantly, such an elegant and timeless design. But the velvet Erica chaise above also took my breath away, so seductive and glamorous.
Born in Germany in 1927, he emigrated with his parents to New York when he was 11. His father was a master cabinetmaker and this is where Kagan started his career after he got his degree in Architecture at Columbia University. By the late 1940’s he opened his own shop and started designing interiors as well. Famous clients at the time were Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Robert Mapplethorpe. More recently Kagan has done work for superstars such as Tom Ford, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
Kagan’s furniture is known for its organic form, sensuality and whimsical flair. The simple elegance of his designs are meant to enrich its environment. In the early years he worked with (walnut) wood structures but in the 60’s and 70’s new materials such as lucite and chrome were introduced. Fashionable at the time, but given a timelessness by Kagan.
Kagan’s designs are like works of art, art that is comfortable and practical. Art is that exhibited in permanent collections of museums worldwide, such as the V&A in London, the Vitra Design Museum, Die Neue Samlung in Germany and other prominent museums.
After more than 60 years in the design business, Kagan proves that great design has no expiry date. Although Kagan officialy retired in 1988, his work has been newly available since 2000 through Ralph Pucci.
A vintage Back-to-Back Serpentine sofa in a Paris apartment
The Floating Curved Sofa (1952)
Paris interior designed by Pierre Yovanovitch where his placed a vintage Vladimir Kagan sofa from 1970
A drinks trolley, such a clever and beautiful design from 1956 – available via Ralph Pucci
Another Vladimir Kagan sofa
The Executive Pedestal Desk for Grosfeld House (1955)
The Omnibus sofa in this apartment with a fabulous view
Another vintage Serpentine sofa, paired with an Oscar Niemeyer chaise and a 1960s French cocktail table – via Elle Decor
Kagan’s Ondine chair and ottoman (1958) just visible on the right, paired with a Poul Kjaerholm stool – via Elle Decor
The more recent lucite Lotus Chair 01 (1970) by Kagan
Some more Serpentines in this Mid Century interior
Kagan’s iconic Unicorn chair (1959)
Tommy Mottola’s master bedroom with a Vladimir Kagan chaise longue (1950), the painting is by Richmond Burton – via Architectural Digest
A collection of Kagan furniture, paired with a Warren Platner coffee table
His book for sale at Amazon amongst others
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